Ex-PDEA chief wants stronger law vs. illegal drugs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — From July 1 to July 5, the number of drug users in Metro Manila who surrendered reached 2,600 — and pushers who had turned themselves in had vowed to totally quit the trade.

Police jot down their names and take their fingerprints, just like a booking process for offenders — but they are not detained.

These records now form a database.

Related: 4 drug-related deaths daily – PNP

Some dependents will do community service, others will undergo rehab. In some cases, monitors check on pushers until they can stand alone without drugs. But there's no single approach for all cases.

Former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Dionisio Santiago said on Monday that everything would depend on the local government unit (LGU).

Related: 23 mayors on Duterte’s list of officials linked to illegal drugs, says PNP Chief

However, Santiago said this had not been the focus of LGUs.

"Local governments have the capacity pero hindi nila ginagamit... Maraming sila pera pero hindi nila priority," Santiago noted.

[Translation: "Local governments have the capacity but they're not tapping it. They have the funds to do so but it's not their priority."]

President Duterte is strongly against the reign of narco politics in the country.

But Santiago told CNN Philippines that some parts of the country have been ruled by narco politics — from the Barangay Chairman to the Mayor — and running after them would be a challenge given the fact that they have people fronting for them.

Dionisio said he recalled submitting a list of politicians involved in the drug trade during the past administration — but it was not acted upon.

And as part of efforts to strengthen the anti-drug campaign, the former PDEA chief recommended that changes to the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act so that law enforcers could effectively perform their duty.